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Successful Querying Requires Doing Your Own Homework

Everyone who is querying and has queried knows that there’s a ton of work and research involved. Fortunately, or unfortunately, there is a lot of great information available at the flick of a screen. Most agencies now have websites where you can read up on each agent and her particular interest. You can also access places like #MSWL, Absolute Write message boards or Query Tracker.

Which is why it’s frustrating when, after a rejection, an author reaches out to ask me who else at BookEnds might be a good fit. If I knew someone else here was perfect for your book I would have forwarded the query. Otherwise, you need to do your own homework. I already have enough of my own.

Category: Blog



  1. You might also want to consider having someone else do it. A beta reader, a member from your writer’s group or your editor.

    A writer is emotionally tied to their books. At least I hope they are, and when the emotion button kicks in it’s hard to narrow down the good stuff that a query requires.

    1. Holy heck, why would you ever unload the massive workload of the querying process onto a friend or colleague? Unless they’re you’re employees, what earthly justification is there for that? And even my editor, that I pay actual money to, has, you know, her own job. She’s an editor. It’s not her job to do mine, especially not for free. Pay someone to help you write your general query template, sure. But you still have to do your own personalizing–your own agency and agent specific research. And since querying isn’t a one and done process, asking anyone to do it for you is…not cool. Neither cool nor practical.

      This post is literally includes “do your own homework” in the title, my dudes!

  2. Your blog and Bryan’s comment couldn’t have come at a better time for me and so many other writers. Writing a good novel (better yet, a GREAT one!) and writing a successful query are light years apart. One, requires a strong creative drive; the other, research, concision, and a disciplined business approach. Thank you for reminding me and other writers of this. I greatly appreciate your excellent blogs.

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